The last several decades have witnessed important discoveries of archaeological and documentary materials from the ancient Near East that shed light on ancient Israel and its religious practices. These extrabiblical materials have had a significant impact on scholarly debates regarding the religion of Israel and the interpretation of the Bible. Until now, however, there have been few introductions that juxtapose these contemporary discoveries with the biblical narrative to help students understand ancient Israelite religions.
Richard Hess provides just that in this accessible account of the discovery of archaeological and textual materials and the debates that have arisen over their importance for biblical studies. After a general introduction to the study of religion, he surveys the field with regard to ancient Israelite and pre-Israelite western Semitic religious traditions. Hess then turns to consider the biblical literature and how other documentary evidence might enlarge our understanding of ancient Israelite religious practices and beliefs. One of the central scholarly debates concerns the question of when the Israelites developed their monotheistic impulse. After examining the evidence, Hess argues for the early establishment of the monotheistic tradition in ancient Israel.
Hess brings a wealth of knowledge to this study, and scholars, students, and clergy interested in the contemporary study of the ancient Near East and the Old Testament will welcome the expert guidance provided in this illustrated volume.
List of figures
2. Approaches to the study of religion
3. Previous study of Israelite religion
4. Pre-Israelite west Semitic religion: Syria and Egypt
5. Pre-Israelite east Semitic religion: Palestine and Jordan
6. Narrative and legal strands of the Pentateuch
7. Priestly and cultic strands of the Pentateuch
8. Early Israel and the united monarchy
9. Written sources for the divided monarchy
10. Archaeological sources for the divided monarchy
11. Exilic and postexilic religion
Israelite Religions by Richard S. Hess was published by Intervarsity Press in September 2007 and is our 7657th best seller. The ISBN for Israelite Religions is 9781844741908.